When a simple Xi-Kim handshake spoke volumes

By CUI JIA in Dandong, Liaoning | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-12 07:50
Restaurant waitresses dressed in Korean ethnic garb ready to welcome customers in Dandong, Liaoning province, on May 1. YU HAIYANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Gaoli Street is one of the most popular places in Dandong for people from the two countries to meet and discuss business opportunities. On Zhou's desk, small Chinese and DPRK national desk flags flank a collection of books about Kim Il-sung, the DPRK's founder who was Kim Jongun's grandfather.

Printed in the DPRK, the books were presented to Zhou by his counterparts in the country. He has studied the volumes, which are written in Chinese, carefully to glean hints that would help him decode the mindset of the country's leaders.

Many people find the DPRK a mysterious place-but Zhou is not one of them. He travels to the country frequently and regards it as just another foreign destination with plenty of business potential.

"People are usually mystified, but they don't try to understand the place. Of course, it is unique in many ways, such as its political system and the way businesses are run, but as long as you really understand how things work there, it's just business as usual," said Zhou, who has specialized in cross-border trade since 2008.

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